All those months.
Even though it was my fault.
Even though it was my choice.
Even though I dug the grave and wove the widow's weeds myself.
Even though I spoke of joy.
I was a widow without you.
Not crippled; not crushed. My soul still had a memory of when its one half was enough to feel whole. It hobbled along. It did not kill me.
I wished sometimes that we did have widow's weeds here now, that there was something I could do to mark myself bereaved, to mark myself broken. I wanted a black veil, ash in my hair.
What they don't tell you is Lazarus' second life: the stone rolled away, and he risen, the miracle done, that much is clear. They tell you not that when he walked the legs were wrong, always. How the smell of it never left him all the way. How the children gathered in a pack around him, but would not meet his eyes.
They don't tell you about his eyes.
What I need to know is this: did we die?
I was a widow, that much is clear. And now I am not. Now we share a home and a life and a future. But it limps.
What I need to know is, did your love die? Are we getting our feet under us, are we learning new territory, are we working through the hard, hard work - or did we die? I did not think we had, before. I thought the diagnosis had been wrong, that our love had gone into a coma, only, and miraculously rung its silver bell, awake. I thought our love had been lost at sea, and we had had its empty funeral and I had worn my mourning robes, but then it came back to us at last. Shipwrecked and weather-beaten, it had come back to us at last.
I was so grateful that I wept anew.
My soul fell so gladly back into step with you, my love, felt so fully its other half. We both know that's what it is, even though it is impossible. Only that which is impossible can be true.
Lazarus' sisters wept also with joy.
They do not tell you how they wept later.
They do not tell you the relief with which he sank into his second grave.
I had not smelled the smell of death on us before. Was I wrong?
That is what I need to know. Was I wrong?